SANTA CLARA, Calif. – To celebrate its legacy in the sport, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will induct the Goodyear Blimp as an honorary member of the College Football Hall of Fame. The blimp will be the first non-player or coach to be inducted.
What started as a request from network television to provide aerial coverage for the 1955 Rose Bowl Game telecast has turned into a long-standing commitment to college football coverage. Since then, the blimp has covered more than 2,000 games from the Rose to the Cotton Bowl and everything in between. For players and fans, the blimp has come to signify the magnitude of games and the superior performances that take place on the field.
“College players and fans know that when the Goodyear Blimp shows up, it’s a big game. Its presence is intrinsically known and tied to the traditions that make college football so great,” said Archie Manning, National Football Foundation chairman. “As the eye in the sky to college football’s greatest coaches, players and moments, it’s only fitting that the Goodyear Blimp joins the College Football Hall of Fame in a year when the game celebrates its 150th anniversary.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to both play and broadcast underneath the shadow of one of sports’ biggest icons, and each time it’s special,” said Kirk Herbstreit, former college football player and ESPN analyst. “For me, playing under the blimp felt like a payoff for the hard work that goes into game day, so I’m excited it’s getting recognized for its contributions to college football.”
In its sports history, the Goodyear Blimp achieved major broadcast “firsts,” including the first to provide aerial coverage of a major sports event and the first to deliver high definition live video to a national sports game. The spirit of innovation to enhance the players and fans’ experience continues to this day with a Blimpcast on Jan. 7 when ESPN will stream the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship from inside the Goodyear Blimp.
“Goodyear is proud that our iconic airship is an honorary member of the College Football Hall of Fame and will live in the company of college football legends,” said Todd Macsuga, general manager of brand marketing at Goodyear, North America consumer. “The Goodyear Blimp has established itself as a symbol of the greatness that takes place on college football fields each Saturday.”
Fans will be able to experience the blimp’s history in college football with a new exhibit set to open later this year at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The exhibit will showcase historical blimp artifacts, video footage, pictures and more.